Durant to opt out and re-sign with Warriors

Finals MVP Kevin Durant is expected to exercise the opt-out option for the second year of his two-year contract with the Golden State Warriors, According to Chris Haynes of ESPN.

Durant will not test free agency similar to last season, but sign another two-year deal with the Warriors under his the league max value to allow Golden State to retain other players who will also become free agents in the coming weeks.

Players like Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston will hit the market as unrestricted free agents on July 7 when NBA free agency officially begins.

If Durant can sign a deal earning roughly $4 million less than league max — $36 million per year — it will allow the Warriors to use Iguodala’s Bird rights and  increase the team’s chances of retaining the 2015 Finals MVP and Sixth Man of the Year candidate.

Bird rights, named after NBA legend Larry Bird, allow a team to exceed the league’s salary cap without penalty in order to re-sign their own free agents up to a league maximum deal.

The only stipulation regarding this clause is that the player being re-signed must have played for the re-signing team for at least three consecutive seasons without being waived or changing teams via free agency.

Being that Iguodala fits this criteria, the Warriors will be expected to offer a deal that could be worth close to $20 million per year. Livingston meets the Bird rights standards as well.

Also considering that Durant has publicly voiced his willingness to take less money in order to keep the team’s core together, another instance of sacrifice when it comes to contract negotiations does not come as a surprise.

After all, the word “sacrifice” was a big talking point at the Warriors championship rally that took place last Thursday in streets of Oakland.

If this news regarding Durant’s contract situation holds any water, the possibility of keeping the group coined “The Hamptons Five,” named after five players — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Iguodala and Durant — who met in the Hamptons of New York  last offseason, could be more of a possibility than ever.